UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - Welfare calls made to police involving a woman who was later found murdered in her Upper Marlboro home is causing the Prince George’s County 911 center to change the way it passes on information to police.
The victim, Amanda Jones, was found dead Tuesday morning inside her home by her daughter. But hours earlier, officers stopped by the 56-year-old woman's home twice to check on her, but were never able to reach her.
The head of 911 center said they will make a change to their protocol in getting information to police officers out on the street after a man called Monday night to say he was on the phone with Jones as she entered her house.
In the first call on Monday night, a man identified as John Ragin told the call taker:
“Yes, I was talking to my friend on the telephone and she was getting out of her car going into her house, and then she started howling and screaming and stuff and then her phone went dead. And I have been trying to call her and I haven’t been able to get through to her. Sounds like she was fighting with somebody who must have been in the house when she got in there.”
But that information never got to the officers who were sent to the house to check on her welfare.
This is what the dispatcher said afterwards:
"Would you go for the unknown trouble please. 911 Andean Goose Way. That's 911 Andean Goose Way. Mr. John is going to be your signal four. It's going to be for someone screaming. A friend screaming at the location, but the phone died. She said her friend was screaming out at this location and then her phone won't work anymore. It's going to be a gray Nissan Rogue four-door at this location. I don't have anything further.”
But when the officers arrived, they found the house secure.
The officer said in the recording:
"No Nissan Rogue out here. No lights on or nothing. The house is secure.”
At that point, the officers left.
We spoke with the director of the county's 911 center. Charlynn Flaherty said based on what happened in this situation, they will add another word to what officers are told when going on a check for a welfare call.
Flaherty: "We've been trained to say screaming is a sign of duress and that information was in there and that was passed on.”
Wagner: “My understanding is he did say that it sounded like there was a struggle.”
Wagner: “That information was not passed on to police. Is that correct?”
Flaherty: “I don't remember hearing that in the dispatch.”
Wagner: “In the conversation you and I had, you are thinking that perhaps you should add that word now or is this something that you’re thinking about doing?”
Flaherty: “In talking to the police department, they have indicated that they would like to have that added into the information that’s being processed and sent out.”
When you call 911, the first person on the phone is a call taker who types the information you are giving into a computer, and that information is then sent to a dispatcher who speaks directly with the police on the streets.
The man who called the first time on Monday night called again Tuesday morning wanting to know what had happened.
The call taker told him the police had gone to the house, but found it secure.
But he told the call taker she had not been on the computer all night and was not answering the phone. He then requested the police to be sent again.
We listened to that dispatch as well and there is no mention of an attack, and again, the police found the house secure.
Later that morning, Jones’ daughter found her mother dead.
Prince George’s County police have arrested her ex-boyfriend for her murder.